Sunday, August 26, 2012

Anime Review No 40-GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class Episode 1/First Impressions

Yo, I'm the Eclectic Dude and I review it for the lolz. 

I have fond memories of high school, unlike most people I know of and/or of my own generation. One of the things I liked about high school was the electives outside of the standard classes taken. One of them was when I spent two semesters doing Basic Art. Now, I don't have the best art skills but I tried, and that's all that counts. I had some fun with it at the very least. 

What was the point of that? Well, it ties in nicely with this review: GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class. It was originally a Seinen yonkoma(4 panel) manga series, still running since 2004. Then, it got an Animated series in Summer 2009, directed by Hiroaki Sakurai and produced by Studio AIC, whose work I've covered in the past.  

The basic idea of GA Art Design Class is a Slice of life series involving a group of female students at a special art group at a school in Japan. 

Episode 1, titled Drawing Fun, serves as an introduction of the main characters. Kisaragi is our main character of the series. She is a meganekko (glasses girl) with brown hair. She is a bit clumsy but good natured. She is also unhealthily obsessed with cute cats. She is dealing with the first day of school, like most slice of life shows these days. 
Then, the Opening Song plays and I quite like it, It is very energetic and cheerful, setting up the tone of the show nicely. On a side note, the use of a fiddle/violin in the OP is a nice touch. It also shows the look of the show, which is a pastel and light color palate.  

This episode isn't one whole plot, but rather a series of short skits (in style of a 4-koma that this anime is based on). This means that this series has a lot of situational comedy, similar to Azumanga Daioh and Nichijo. I won't dwell on the details, suffice to say it is all rather funny. We are also introduced to Kisaragi's classmates, including Noda-chan (loli), Tomokane (tomboy), Namiko-san (tall and well-endowned), Miyabi (soft-spoken and stoic girl). All of them don't have much in terms of characters, but the strength of the show lies in the comedy and jokes, mostly involving art. One thing in particular is the silly Sentai parody (Irodo Rangers) they do halfway through the episode. 

But it isn't all fun and games. No, this show is semi-educational, as it touches on topics in the visual arts (painting, sculpture, drawing, textiles). For instance, this episode deals with Pictograms, Drawing, Color Theory. I get the feeling that the author of the manga has very fond of art class back in the day. It also talks about the use of technology (computers) to do art and the application of art to daily life (pictograms for recycling and trash bins). This is very good, as it shows that animation can be educational without being overbearing (cough cough PBS cough cough). The ending song is just the main cast in chibi form, doing various things over music. It's slow and plodding a bit, in contrast to the energetic and cheerful OP. 

Final thoughts? I liked this quite a lot. I remember watching this episode when the series first came on, but then quickly put it aside as I was busy watching other anime shows. Now, looking back, I can say this: This is a great first episode, establishing the cast and tone/mood (comedic) for the whole series I figure. The education portion is wonderfully done and ties in nicely to the comedy. I will add this to my list of series to review in full at some point. 

Next review is September 9th.

The Eclectic Dude

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